My, my miss Mary
Sonoma International Film Festival plans tribute to Mary-Louise Parker
From forward and foul-mouthed in “Weeds” to daintily demure in “Fried Green Tomatoes,” Mary-Louise Parker has proven her dexterity with more than a decade of diverse character roles. Her award-studded career will be celebrated during the Sonoma International Film Festival, which runs from April 10 to 14.
She will join her “Weeds” co-star Demián Bichir, an Oscar nominee who was previously announced as the Spotlight Award recipient at this year’s festival.
“Both Parker and Bichir exemplify such amazing traits as actors,” said Kevin McNeely, executive director of the festival. “We are thrilled to celebrate their contribution to independent film…and even more excited to be able to reunite this ‘Weeds’ duo.”
Parker is not known as on of America’s leading ladies – she shies away from romantic comedies in favor of edgier, more challenging performances. She famously turned down a choice role as the saccharine sweet Susan Mayer on ABC’s mega-hit “Desperate Housewives,” and instead signed on to become Nancy Botwin, the soccer mom-turned pot dealer on Showtime’s critical darling, “Weeds.”
“It was uglier,” she told Vanity Fair in 2010. It also proved to be more successful, at least when it came to awards. Parker’s portrayal won the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy in 2006, and earned her nominations in that same category in 2007, 2008 and 2009. She was also nominated for an Emmy for her work in “Weeds” in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Not surprisingly, the role also led to a High Times’ Stony Award for Best Actress in 2006 and 2007.
“It’s a great trophy. It’s a big glass bong that’s actually bigger than my Emmy,” she told Vanity Fair. Parker won an Emmy in 2004 for her role as a pill-popping Mormon wife of a closeted gay man in the acclaimed HBO miniseries “Angels in America.”
She has long favored roles that push the limits and demand emotional performances. In 1994’s “The Client,” she plays the uneducated mother of a young child who witnessed a murder, while 1995’s “Boys on the Side” cast her as an uptight real estate agent coping with AIDS. She ruffled feathers as a hard-hitting feminist political strategist on “The West Wing,” with a character arc as Josh Lyman’s love interest, who devoted fans of the shows loved to hate. Upon hearing their ire at a Hollywood Reporter roundtable, Parker was said to have muttered, “They probably have to f*** with the lights off.”
Certainly not America’s Sweetheart, she has instead found her way with a passion for strong stories and compelling characters. Parker and Bichir will be honored on Saturday, April 13, during the Spotlight Award tribute event.
For festival passes and more information, visit sonomafilmfest.org.